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Laser lights switch-on a major turn-off
CROWDS left Weymouth’s laser lights launch saying the project was an ‘embarrassment to the town’.
The seafront was full of hundreds of people who were keen to catch a first glimpse of the artwork at its official launch.
Despite a minor glitch with the PA system, the green lasers were turned on to the soundtrack of ‘Teardrops’ by Massive Attack.
Weymouth and Portland Mayor Margaret Leicester launched the lights, the final part of a £2.5million seafront regeneration programme.
The Veils of Light project has been funded by the Arts Council and other external funding.
Mrs Leicester told the crowds: “This is something new and very innovative and we are the first seaside resort to have it.”
The lights are described as ‘an artist-led scheme’ and consist of seven 16 metre high columns.
They begin half an hour after sunset and will go on and off every six minutes through the evening, with a different pattern of lights each time.
They will stay on until midnight in winter and 1am in summer.
Residents and visitors told the Echo that the lights, which replace the string of traditional ‘fairy lights’ along the promenade, were ‘disgusting and appalling’.
Former Weymouth resident Pauline Stevens, of Tennessee, had flown from the US to see the laser launch.
She said: “This is a total embarrassment.”
Laurel Salthouse, 68, of Weymouth, said: “I’m distinctly underwhelmed. An awful lot of money has been spent on this. It doesn’t seem to have a distinctive purpose. The fairy lights we had before were very attractive and gave the outline of the bay.”
Mandy Cox, 53, of Weymouth, said: “I think the lasers are disgusting. It’s a waste of money that could have been spent on better things.”
Jeffrey Lancaster, of Weymouth, said: “I think the council need people who haven’t taken their Christmas lights down to donate them. The only decent flashing lights I saw tonight were on an ambulance.”
Laurence Stone, 39, of Weymouth, said: “The lights are different. I was looking forward to the launch.
“I think people will come to Weymouth to see them.”
Photographer Mark Probin, of Weymouth, said: “The jury’s still out because it will be interesting to see what they look like in different weather conditions.
“The pillars are great and you can get some fantastic photos of them on the side of the bay by the Pavilion.”
It's art, says 2012 boss
SIMON Williams, head of Weymouth and Portland 2012 operations, said the Veils of Light project was ‘an artistic installation, not a laser light show.’ Mr Williams, right, said: “I don’t know what people were expecting. It needs to be dark for the lights to work best.
“It will be different in different weather conditions – people need to look at it over a period of time in different conditions and different locations to experience it fully.
“People need to spend some time looking at it. Someone said to me ‘my friend looked out the window and said ‘is that it?’ “It’s about spending time there. It’s an artistic installation, not a laser light show.”